It’s hard to find positives as a Newcastle fan right now.
Bruce is looking well out of his depth at this level and it feels like the players standards have dropped as a result, The Magpies are 5/4, which is a price that can be enhanced by NJ online casino sites with most bookies to get relegated this season. But we’ll have to hold onto the hope things can only get better. They have to!
With that and a cup half full mentality in mind, here’s a few glimmers of hope to old onto for us Newcastle fans:
1. Saint-Maximin – The man who could help transform our toothless attack?
We’ve not just struggled for goals this season, we’ve struggled to create chances and have rarely carried a consistent threat in games, with the likes of Miguel Almiron looking badly out of sorts.
Saint-Maximin is a mercurial talent who may frustrate at times, but his pace, skill and fearlessness on the ball is exactly what we need right now.
He finally looks in a position to return to the team after struggling with a niggling hamstring injury over the past month, and I’m hoping that coincides with us looking far more dangerous in attack.
An isolated Joelinton needs a helping hand and Almiron needs someone to take the pressure off his narrow shoulders – and Saint-Maximin could step up and be that man.
2. The return of our best defender who’s absence has been felt
Florian Lejeune has been back out on the training pitch over the past month and could be available in the next few weeks according to Steve Bruce.
He’s a classy operator who helps us in so many ways. Not only does Jamaal Lascelles look a different player when alongside the Frenchman, but his return also gives us a nice balance at the back, giving us capable ball players either side of the skipper.
He helps us get on the front foot at home, possessing an impressive range of passing, and gives us that extra bit of quality and calmness at the back.
3. Ritchie’s return could up our intensity – and our most natural right wing-back is fit again
Matt Ritchie has been badly missed over the past few weeks, with us having a noticeable lack of energy, intensity and leadership when he’s absent.
He seems to lift the standards of his fellow teammates and has the energy to help out at both ends, allowing him to protect our back line but also get good balls into the box – something Joelinton’s been completely starved of.
At the other side, it’s good to see Yedlin back fit after several months out with a groin injury that’s been holding him back for a long time now.
In a side that lacks pace and outlets on the break, his speed could be a useful weapon.
4. Getting Sean Longstaff back to his best could be a game changer
The local lad was outstanding earlier in the year, bursting onto the scene under Rafa Benitez and becoming a first team star in a matter of weeks.
A serious knee injury meant he missed the back end of the season and a fair chunk of our pre-season, and he’s looked noticeably rusty and uncharacteristically sluggish on the ball so far this season.
Hopefully he’s just readjusting after a long period out and big injury that set him back, because we’re missing the Longstaff that kept things ticking effortlessly in midfield and controlled games.
If he can get himself back to his best and re-establish the formidable partnership he built with Isaac Hayden last season, he could help transform our midfield.
He spoke strongly after the hammering at Leicester and will be hoping to respond with a strong display against Man Utd – who are 7/2 to lose on Sunday.
5. January buys likely if we’re in big danger – but Bruce could be gone by then..
It didn’t work under McClaren, but one thing Mike Ashley did last time we were in the middle of a relegation fight was back us in January.
There was a few panic buys that time around, with the likes of Doumbia and Saivet failing to impress, but the signing of Andros Townsend very nearly steered us to safety.
If we’re in a mess come the new year – and I suspect we might be! – then the signing of a goalscorer or two could be key.
I can’t help but think the major step we could take towards surviving would be to replace Steve Bruce with a manager more capable of inspiring this capable bunch of players – but I don’t expect Mike Ashley to wield the axe any time soon.
If Newcastle stay up this season, I feel it’ll be down to the players stepping up and sorting out their form, not Steve Bruce, so let’s hope some of the above comes true over the coming months!